Arshile Gorky was one of my favorite artists a long time ago. Yesterday, I was surfing for images of his paintings and stumbled onto a couple of pages with biographical information.
Gorky has been called the last Surrealist and the first Abstract Expressionist and he did indeed influence some of the AbEx artists. He had a painfully difficult if not tragic life. Born Vostanik Manoog Adoyan, in the village of Khorkom, Turkish Armenia. His family was forced from their home by the Turks in Turkey's second Armenian genocide (call it what you will) during WWI. They eventually ended up in Russia. There, far from his homeland, he lost his mother, who died of starvation. Eventually, he and his sisters emigrated to the United States. In the U.S.he changed his name to Arshile Gorky and pursued an art career.
Elements of his paintings hearken to his homeland and his work completed in the years before his death are unique in the history of Modern art.
Here are some links with information about Gorky:
Arshile Gorky, The Liver is the Cock's Comb (1944).